Eugene O’Growney (1863-1899) was a Roman Catholic priest, Irish-language activist and a founding member of the Gaelic League. O’Growney was born in County Meath to an English-speaking family, but became interested in the language from a young age. Upon being ordained as a priest in 1888, he would serve as a curate for the Diocese of Meath for a short period before becoming the Chair of Irish at Maynooth University by 1891. O’Growney considered Gaelic literature to be “the most Catholic literature in the world” and sought to preserve it. He would publish Simple Lessons in Irish, which would become immensely popular, garnering 320,000 sales by 1903. He would become vice-president of the newly-founded Gaelic League in 1893, but failing health forced him to spend his final years in America, where he died aged just 36 in 1899. His body would be returned back to Ireland in 1903.
The National Language (1890)